In Book 13 of Homer's Odyssey, describe the relationship between Athena and Odysseus? 

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noahvox2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the thirteenth book of Homer's Odyssey, the title character awakens to find him back home on his native island of Ithaca (although, at first, he does not know this). The first person he encounters is the goddess Athena, who has disguised herself as a young shepherd boy. In this disguise, Athena informs Odysseus where he is.

As soon as Odysseus learns that he has returned to Ithaca, he tries to conceal his true identity by telling this "shepherd" that he used to live on Crete, but had to flee after killing someone there. Thus, Odysseus lies to the goddess.

Athena, however, is not angered by Odysseus' lies. At this point, she reveals her true self to him. Additionally, she marvels at his wily ways and comments that Odysseus is almost as cunning and clever as a god. Athena even compares Odysseus to herself:

We are well-matched in these arts, you being the most eloquent and practical of men, and I known among the gods for my wisdom and subtlety. (A.S. Kline translation)

In sum, the relationship between Odysseus and Athena is one of respect and admiration. The fact that Athena supports Odysseus should come as no surprise to the audience. This goddess is frequently seen helping various heroes (compare also her help of Perseus, Heracles, and other Greeks at Troy). Furthermore, Athena's aid, of which she soon informs him, is no surprise to Odysseus, who recalls all the help Athena has provided him with in the past.